Don’t undermine conduct of country’s election: SC


supreme-courtsupremeNew Delhi:  The Supreme Court Wednesday decried the tendency of undermining the conduct of election in the country while comparing it with elections in England and America, saying the world was envious of the way elections were carried out on such a vast scale in the country.

“Why you compare elections in the country with that of other countries? You can’t imagine the scale at which elections are conducted through EVMs across the country. People, the world over, are envious of the way elections are conducted in the country,” said apex court bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph.

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“They can’t believe that India held elections by EVMs. They don’t use it in America. They want to adopt Indian system. Don’t undermine the conduct of Indian elections,” the court said as it declined a public interest litigation (PIL).

The PIL sought direction to the Election Commission to put in place a mechanism so voters know the antecedents of the candidates they have to choose from before they go to exercise their votes at polling booths.

The conduct of elections for the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies came in praise of the court as PIL petitioner Banwari Lal Sharma referred to British practice where voters are well informed about the candidates they have to choose from before they go to polling booths to exercise their votes.

Sharma said the right to know the background of the candidate is a fundamental right of the people as it facilitates an informed expression of opinion – a right guaranteed under Article 19(1) of the Constitution.

The PIL petitioner said the apex court in its various decisions had declared the right of the voter to know the antecedents of the candidates in the fray was a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

Sharma, in his PIL, referred to an earlier apex court verdict which said: “…a democracy can’t survive without free and fair election, without free and fairly informed voters. Votes cast by uninformed voters in favour of X or Y candidate would be meaningless… one-sided information, disinformation, misinformation and non-information all equally create an uninformed citizenry, which makes democracy a farce.”

He said for a successful democratic system, it is a must that best people should come forward and be elected as representatives of the people. However, the petitioner said this was not happening.

“At present for most politicians, politics has become a most profitable business. Donors (financially backing politicians) become the partners in this business. They invest huge money in the elections and earn more than that. This becomes the root cause of all ills of Indian democracy,” the petition said.